Domestic Licensing

Domestic Licensing Program

The Trademark Program’s domestic licensing program is responsible for the licensing of Harvard’s trademarks on products sold only within the United States. The products principally licensed are traditional merchandise such as apparel, stationery, bags, and novelty items. Because it is administered in-house, the Trademark Program staff are responsible for managing all aspects of the licensing process, from the identification of prospective licensees, through the research and selection phases, to the final contract negotiations. Staff members also ensure that licensees are compliant with the terms of their license agreements including the timely submission of annual administration and licensing fees, quarterly royalty reports and royalty payments; the submission of artwork for review and approval prior to the production of licensed products; the maintenance of liability insurance; and the maintenance of licensee memberships with the Fair Labor Association. Harvard’s domestic trademark licenses fall within three categories: the standard license, the restricted-use license, and the royalty exempt license.

Harvard's Standard Domestic Trademark License

The standard domestic trademark license is designed for companies that produce insignia products on an ongoing basis and it grants a licensee the right to use the University’s trademarks for a specified period of time. Based on Harvard’s interest in protecting its name, reputation, and the values it espouses, Harvard is conservative in regard to the products it allows to bear its trademarks and the companies for which it grants standard licenses. As a result, license requests are reviewed based on a rigorous set of standards that enable the Trademark Program to evaluate the appropriateness and quality of the proposed licensed products; the manner in which the Marks will be used; the marketability of the products; the company’s history of compliance with business and licensing standards; and the company’s standing in the business community at large. Typically, the University licenses apparel, novelty items, stationery, and other such traditional insignia products and requires that all licensed products are of good quality, compatible with Harvard’s standards, and represent the University’s trademarks both appropriately and accurately.

License Requirements

In addition to meeting the criteria referenced above, a company must fulfill the following requirements in order to obtain a standard trademark license from the University:

Produce products in accordance with Harvard’s licensing standards (in terms of class and quality) *
Represent the University’s trademarks appropriately and accurately
Submit product samples for quality assurance and trademark use reviews
Maintain Commercial General Liability Insurance
Maintain membership with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and abide by the FLA Code of Conduct
Submit artwork for review and approval by the Trademark Program prior to production
Pay licensing fees: an Annual Program Administration fee and an Annual Minimum Guarantee
Submit Royalty Reports and, if applicable, Royalty Payments on a quarterly basis

* Among the products not licensed by Harvard are alcohol and tobacco items, drug paraphernalia, adult entertainment items, weapons, and products related to gambling or lotteries.


The Licensing Process

A company interested in obtaining a standard trademark license from Harvard must submit a written request, which will be reviewed by the Trademark Program to determine if the company produces goods that meet the University’s product standards. If such a determination is made, the company will be offered the opportunity to apply for a license by submitting a License Request Proposal and License Request Application;
Upon receipt, the Proposal and Application will be reviewed by the Trademark Program, and if the information they contain meets the University’s licensing criteria the company will be offered a standard trademark license and provided with two original License Agreements to complete and return;
Once received, the License Agreements are reviewed by the Trademark Program and, if in order, the company will be granted a standard trademark license, notified of that fact in writing, provided with an executed original License Agreement, a royalty reporting form, and a digital file of the University’s primary trademarks.

Requesting a Standard License

A request must be submitted in writing to the Trademark Program’s email address, trademark_licensing@harvard.edu, and should include the reason for your company’s interest in obtaining a license, as well as a list of the products your company produces. If your company produces goods that meet Harvard’s insignia product standards, it will be offered the opportunity to submit a License Request Proposal and License Request Application. The License Request Proposal must contain the following information:

A statement of intention explaining your company’s interest in obtaining a trademark license from Harvard;
A summary of your company’s background that includes its mission statement, business goals, and history;
A list of the proposed products to be licensed and information about those products including a product catalog, if one is available;
A list of schools with whom your company is currently licensed and a collegiate product line history;
A detailed business plan outlining your company’s proposed strategy for the production, distribution, and sale of Harvard insignia products and identifying your company’s target audience(s) for the sale of those goods.

In addition, the Proposal and Application must be accompanied with the following documentation and items:

A copy of your company’s certification of membership with the Fair Labor Association (FLA);
Written confirmation that your company carries Commercial General Liability Insurance and that were your company to be licensed by Harvard it would be able to provide a Certificate of Liability Insurance documenting coverage including but not limited to products, completed operations, and contractual insurance, in amounts not less than one million ($1,000,000) per occurrence, and naming the President and Fellows of Harvard College as an additional insured;
A sample of each product upon which your company plans to affix the University’s trademarks.

Following the receipt of your company’s Proposal and Application, the Trademark Program will determine if your company qualifies for a standard trademark license from Harvard and your company will be notified of the decision in writing: the review process takes approximately 30 days.

Harvard's Restricted-Use Trademark License

This section of our website is currently being updated. In the interim, please email our office at  trademark_licensing@harvard.edu , with any inquiries you may have that are related to this question.

Harvard's Royalty-Exempt License

This section of our website is currently being updated. In the interim, please email our office at  trademark_licensing@harvard.edu , with any inquiries you may have that are related to this question.